Astrology – translates literally as: the word of the stars. This would seem to indicate that the stars (planets) speak to us, yet how many of us have learned to hear what they are saying? Now it’s all about Astronomy – the naming of the stars. An entirely different animal altogether.
The ancients sought to listen to the planets as they circled around the heavens. They learned pretty early on to distinguish between stars, which are fixed at a particular part of the sky, and the planets which wander across the sky at regularly timed intervals. In fact, the word ‘planet’ means wandering in Greek. And they began to recognise that planetary events translated down among their tribes as human events. Then they were able to predict the planetary cycles and thus to predict events in the lives of their King or tribal leader.
When I recently did a chart reading for a client, she said to me: “I had never thought of myself or my life in this way – it’s amazing!” And it’s true – astrology offers an initiation into a much bigger picture about who we are and where we are going. Information that keys us into to the movement of planets and time, putting our lives into a universal context than we may have previously believed was possible. And if the planets are talking to us, moving around us and acting through us, then we are as important to them as they are to us.
In my therapeutic work I often hear clients say “Here I go again! I’m just doing the same old same old, over and over again – same bloke, same outcomes, same, same, same!” And while it may look and feel the same – it is never actually the same, because we are not the same. Our lives follow a cyclical pattern that bring us similar themes, yet each time we are offered an opportunity to “get” the message, to understand the deeper layers of our behaviour. This is how our life is until we start asking how we can change it all by recognising that we have the opportunity to let go of the neurosis/repetitive pattern. However, until then, we will repeat the same themes, patterns, but they are never the same, because we are not the same, time has moved us on.
As we detach from the neurosis of repetition recurring over the years, we begin to see that what is actually going on is a set of patterns that are uniquely our own to which each of us will respond differently. What is on offer is the recognition that we are sifting through those repeating pattern for that nugget of gold that is our conscious recognition of what life is all about, time after time.
We get to see ourselves against a backdrop of planetary cycles that can lift us into life as an ever continuing cycle of existence – knowing that we never die and will return again and again. Each lifetime is itself a cycle, within which smaller and smaller cycles occur, like fractals, each containing a glimpse of the truth of why we are here. Remember, knowledge is power and it can set us free. Once we understand this, we need never be afraid again.
Over the last few years I have been pointing out how the various “big” planetary patterns, such as those between Uranus and Pluto, worked in the past and how they may work this time around. I have offered this partly as information and partly as a warning. On a grand scale these are also repetitive cycles that the whole of humanity has to endure – as well as our own stuff, we have to take on this big stuff? I hear you ask. Answer: yes, we do.
Mercury – the Voice of the Solar System
Mercury is the planet closest to the Sun. It is also the smallest and the fastest planet in the Solar System. This is why it retrogrades every 4 months for about 21 days each time and creates communication havoc each time.
The planets that we currently use come in pairs, energetically. Most importantly comes the pairing of the Sun and Moon – representing the relationships (or not) of our parents in our earliest years, fixing our partnership choices, often for ever more. Venus and Mars are the next couple, bound together in love, passion and argument; as are Jupiter and Saturn, creating the heartbeat, the expansion and contraction that their presence shows in our life’s process. Going out beyond Saturn’s orbit to the so-called Outer Planets: Uranus, Neptune and Pluto; we can see that Neptune and Pluto make a system of their own. Uranus is a loner – more about him another time.
Similarly, Mercury creates a relationship with no one. Mercury has no gender because he represents pure thought. He is “The word” that translates the thoughts and ideas of all the other bodies in our system, including the Sun and Moon. In our bodies, he is the throat chakra, or energy point. He is our voice – the sign he falls in on your chart will show how we speak or communicate. All the other chakras or energy points in our bodies, on our chart, speak to the world through our Mercury, through our voice.
To the ancient Egyptians he was Thoth – more than reducing him to concrete thought as we do in modern astrology – they saw him as the Mind of the Universe. So he represented our connection with abstract, pure, beyond our boundaries, thinking. this makes him a much more powerful planetary energy that we believe him to be now. And the story below tells us this.
In the famous myth of Persephone’s abduction by Pluto, her mother Ceres, begged the Gods on high Olympus to rescue her daughter. When they refused she withheld springtime – keeping the earth in perpetual winter until they relented. And who did they send down into Pluto’s cave in the Underworld – why Mercury, of course, the arch-negotiator. They sent him because he is the only planet that can speak for both the conscious mind and the Unconscious mind. And the story worked out with a happy ending for mother and daughter reunited once more.
In Greek and Roman mythology Mercury was seen as a hermaphrodite, both male and female within his being. His various images show a youthful figure, carrying a staff with entwined snakes on it – the Caduceus. This shows his association with Virgo, sign of health and related matters. It is the symbol most commonly seen on chemist shops, and hospitals. He also wore boots and a helmet with feathers on them, showing his speed and alacrity.
Our nervous system, our internal bodily workings and the sophisticated communication network that monitors our health moment to moment are also associated with Mercury. He is also associated, through his rulership of Gemini, with our hands and arms; our voice and our breathing, the lungs. If we didn’t breathe, we couldn’t speak. We can also communicate using our hands.
I actually think that wherever our planets are placed on our birth charts, it is Mercury who speaks for them – mediating, translating and giving form to them. All the planets are lit by the reflected light of the Sun. Being so close to the Sun, gives Mercury the unique position to gather the reflected light of each planet and the unique pattern of each sign. So when we speak, Mercury tells our stories, or maybe, tells the stories of the planets and their signs through us, through our voices and our self-expression in whatever form we choose to use.
So, backwards or forwards we are actually expressing a very powerful energy indeed.
The Nightingale Tree
Be still and listen to the nightingale sing from the branches of her cherry blossom tree and remember “Auld Lang Syne”.
The Nightingale Tree is a poetic journal of Marian’s life journey, from winning a poetry competition at age seven to present day and middle age. Written in response to experience and challenge, each poem is a snapshot of a moment in time, from innocent, childlike verse to more complex adulthood.
As natural and vital as breath, poetry flows through her and often feels as much like listening from a place of stillness as writing and is completely heart-centred and sincere. A compassionate human being’s desire to make sense of life and hold on to hope and trust.
In this beautiful, crazy, busy world, take a moment to share some peace and know that we are all travelling our individual roads together, perhaps holding hands for a time along the way. Nobody is ever really alone! Be still and listen to the nightingale sing from the branches of her cherry tree.